Humble & Vintage
9 September 2010 / Posted by Brett Phillips
Image: Courtesy of the Humble Vintage Bike Hire Co. Circa 2010.
EVERY now and then it is nice to read some good news about Melbourne and cycling enthusiast Matthew Hurst is happy to provide it. Mr Hurst rents out restored bikes with detailed city cycling routes in his quarterly newsletter Melbourne for Visitors and Casual Cyclists. The newsletter has a positive message: "Welcome, Melbourne is a long way from anywhere. Thank God it's a wonderful place to be."
The winter guide details cycling routes to reveal Melbourne's "hidden heritage", "vintage shops" and the city's "built environment". There are details about lanes and pubs that many people walk past every day with little idea of their history.
"A little sliver of Mayfair in the heart of the city", the "Old English" pub lies hidden down a lane off Collins Street. While given its Tudor look in the 1900s, the building was first licensed in 1868 — making the Mitre [tavern] one of Melbourne's oldest licensed premises," architectural historian of the National Trust Rohan Storey details in the winter guide of the city's heritage treasures.
Mr Hurst sold 600 copies of the summer 2010 editions for $3 each in CBD bookshops. The cycling guide is the ideal companion to Mr Hurst's main passion, his restored bike hire business, The Humble Vintage. In operation for about a year, there is now a stable of 25 restored bikes to service mainly tourists.
Mr Hurst said the average price he pays for a bike is about $250 to $300 and he rents out the bikes with helmets, locks and a copy of his city guides for $30 a day, $45 a weekend or $80 a week. "I get a lot of Sydney weekenders, couples on holidays or students on uni holidays," he said.
"My typical rental customer is someone who flies in from Sydney on a Friday night, they are staying at the Windsor for three days and they want a bike. The 29-year-old said he was not in competition with the state government's bike hire scheme, which he says is a fantastic idea.
He just wants more people to enjoy Melbourne — and why not from a bike? Mr Hurst said he was attracted to old bikes because "they have style". Hurt's favourite spot is turning down Collins Street from Spring Street. "It's a really engaging beautiful view — it's Melbourne to me. You just have those moments when you ride around the city, you get a glimpse of the true Melbourne."
Jason Dowling, The Age September 1, 2010
Read some more about The Humble Vintage Bike Hire Co here